Bruce Sterling’s The Hacker Crackdown gets podcast

June 24, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast - The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce SterlingCory Doctorow has started recording Science Fiction author Bruce Sterling‘s The Hacker Crackdown. The book is non-fiction, but deals with some speculative fiction themes. About it Cory writes:

“I’ve been podcasting my fiction since September 2005, and I’ve basically caught up. There are a couple of novels in the can that will be coming into print shortly, and some collaborative stories, but apart from them, I’ve read it all. So now I’m reading other people’s stuff — at least while I get more in the can. I’m starting with Bruce Sterling’s brilliant, seminal book The Hacker Crackdown, a 1992 book that recounts the events that led to the founding of The Electronic Frontier Foundation, my former employer. Bruce released the book as a free electronic download nearly 10 years before I did the same with my first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. This book changed my life — and the lives of countless others. It inspired me politically, artistically and socially. Last week, I saw Bruce at his home in Serbia and asked him if he minded my reading this aloud for the next 20 weeks or so. He gave me his blessing — so here it is.”

Subscribe to the feed or download |MP3| the first installment:

BBC7 broadcast of Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows

June 23, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

Online Audio

BBC 7's The 7th DimensionPreviously released on BBC Radio 4, and with a different reader, The Willows is a 100 year old supernatural Horror story is endorsed by none other than H.P. Lovecraft! Old H.P. described it as: ‘The finest supernatural tale in English literature.’ Blackwood, is well regarded as one of the 20th century’s foremost writers of supernatural fiction and as Lovecraft, said of him: ‘he is the one absolute and unquestioned master of weird atmosphere …[he] can evoke what amounts almost to a story from a simple fragment of psychological description. Above all others he understands how fully some sensitive minds dwell for ever on the borderland of dream, and how relatively slight is the distinction betwixt those images formed from actual objects and those excited by the play of the imagination.’

BBC7 - The Willows by Algernon BlackwoodThe Willows
By Algernon Blackwood; Read by Lawrence Jackson
4 X 30 Minute Episodes – Approx. 2 Hours [UNABRIDGED?]
BROADCASTER: BBC7’s The 7th Dimension
BROADCAST: Monday 25th to Thursday 28th, 2007 at 6:30pm (repeats 12:30am) UK Time*
Two friends on a canoeing trip down the Danube decide to spend the night on a small island in a remote stretch of the river between Austria and Hungary. Little by little, they realize that malevolent supernatural forces, embodied by the island’s ubiquitous rustling willow trees, are at work against them, and what at first promises to be a straightforward camping expedition escalates into an ordeal of survival against a powerful agency from another dimension.

All four parts will be made available via the Listen Again service shortly after they air.

Jesse Willis

Review of The Sky People by S.M. Stirling

June 22, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - The Sky People by S.M. StirlingThe Sky People
By S.M. Stirling; Read by Todd McLaren
1 MP3-CD or 9 CDs – Approx. 10.5 Hrs [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: 2006
ISBN: 140015345X (MP3-CD), 9781400103454 (CDs)
Themes: / Science Fiction / Alternate History / Adventure / Venus / Dinosaurs / Neanderthals / Airships / Cold War / Pulp /


He swayed back against the recoil and worked the bolt with a quick flick of his first three fingers. A body exploded out of the patch of tall grass he’d aimed at. It was a biped, about his own size and covered in yellow-green feathers except for a crest of crimson plumes that snapped out in reflex as the lizard body writhed in death. The jump put it a good twelve feet into the air; a good deal of its length was the powerful digitigrade legs, both with a great sickle-shaped claw held up against the hock. That flashed out in equally automatic reflex as the vicious predator struck out in one last attempt to disembowel whatever had hurt it. A steam-engine hiss escaped the long fanged mouth, scarlet-purple within, and a spray of blood came with it from the lungs shredded by the powerful expanding bullet.

“Raptor pack!” Marc shouted to the herdsman.

The Sky People fits into that alternate history sub-genre of SF but not in the usual way. Generally, alternate history tales follow the events of the real world with one event changed in the past that creates a different outcome and changes history from that point forward. This may be the South winning the Civil War or Mary, Queen of Scots, becoming the Queen of England. The departing point for this novel took place approximately 200 million years ago. But it didn’t occur so much on our own planet but on Venus and Mars. This means this alternate Earth’s history doesn’t change until the U.S. and Soviet Union start exploring interplanetary space.

The prologue features the landing of an American rocket ship on Venus in 1962. The planet’s surface appears as a lush jungle – then running into view of the film camera is an exotic and beautiful scantily fur-clad female with her clan’s people.

The novel proper then begins 22 years later in 1988. The Cold War has changed from an arms race into a competitive interplanetary space race to explore and stake their claims on Venus and Mars. Marc Vitrac, a citizen of Jamestown, the U.S.-Commonwealth scientific colony, welcomes the newly arrived rocket passengers. Their mode of transportation from the landing site to Jamestown is on the back of dinosaurs through the jungle lushness of Venus.

Meanwhile, on the nearby Venusian continent, the Soviet bloc has set up their own scientific outpost. When one of their shuttle crash lands in the relative vicinity of Jamestown, a rescue party is put together to search for survivors. They travel via airship, and it does not fair well against the natural hostile environment. What’s more, there is a saboteur among the blimp’s crew.

The story grows more intriguing as Marc Vitrac and the stranded party of the airship meet with a clan of primitive humans. The two parties join forces to face off against a tribe of armed Neanderthals!

As you might imagine, this novel reads as a love letter to the early pulp master, Edgar Rice Burroughs. But it’s no mere pastiche of the creator of Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, and most pertinently, Carson of Venus. Stirling uses hard science justifications for his world building. And there’s also more of an emphasis on cultural diversity that you’d expect from a novel written in the 21st century. Sterling is a capable writer, whether it is a turning of a phrase or a description of lush imagery, he’s able to handle it all without getting too far from the gloriously pulpy action. Burroughs is often mentioned in the book as being a major influence on the many of the denizens of the scientific colony.

What exactly happened those 200 million years ago isn’t exactly clear. Why is the planet’s evolution so closely tied to that of Earth’s? The reigning hypothesis in The Sky People is that aliens seeded the planets nearest Earth. There are mysteries here that are to be answered over the length of the trilogy.

Todd McLaren handles the dialects deftly without overemphasizing the accents. Some novels are well-suited to be adapted to audiobook, as if they were written for that treatment. The Sky People is one of these, it makes an ideal audiobook. The large ranch of characters with multi-cultural backgrounds enables Todd McLaren to apply his talent for dialect and keeping the listening experience fresh and varied. Sterling also writes with sounds effects—meaning, he literally writes “Unnnngg-OOOK!” for a bellowing dinosaur, so it’s like the story has the sound effects built in, which McLaren gets to vocalize.

The Sky People is a rare pleasure—well-written, thrill-ride excitement, fun characters, lush settings, and all wrapped-up in a wonderful vocal performance. This is the first novel in a projected trilogy. I sincerely hope that Tantor Audio, with the talents of Todd McLaren, publishes the complete series.

Final episode of Canadia: 2056 airs today on CBC Radio One

June 22, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio OnlineAudio

Canadia 2056The concluding episode of Canadia: 2056 airs today on all CBC Radio One stations across Canada. Tune in and listen @ 11:30am or listen using the Streaming Radio Map. And, just one day prior to the conclusion Canadia: 2056 earned an “honorable mention” for the 2007 Mark Time Awards.

Here’s the official CBC Radio hotsheet description for the final show:

“An illegal upload adversely affects the computer. The Canadia finally reaches the planet Ipampilash, but Faverau and Pickens can’t agree on what to do. Anderson and Lewis take matters into their own hands when the captain is unable to answer the call of duty. Faverau comes across a Canadian on board the USS Pickens and brings them back to the Canadia. Canadia 2056, this morning at 11:30 (noon NT) on CBC Radio One.”

What will the ultimate fate of Canadia: 2056 be? We’ve got no idea. But Matt Watts has posted a bit of info to his site. Matt sez:

“Overall, I’m pretty happy with the quality of the writing. I think I managed to write a couple of great episodes (along with a couple of clunkers.) The two episodes that were co-written turned out great, and I’m glad I had Dave Tomlinson and Bryan Lee O’Malley to write them. I couldn’t have done it at all without Joe Mahoney as my story editor – Thanks, Joe. The cast and crew were fantastic to work with. The whole thing was a great ride, and I hope we get picked up for more. I left the story open ended and there’s nothing I’d like more than to do a second season.”

And he’s posted a pic of the 2056 cast and crew:

Canadia 2056 Cast and Crew

The series seems to have really struck a chord with listeners. One listener compared it with the original broadcast of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, and I think that’s a fair comparison, Matt Watts is not unlike a Canadian Douglas Adams.

I’ve personally received several emails requesting places where previous episodes can be downloaded. Unfortunately I’m not personally able to help you with these requests. But nothing is stopping you from trading files yourselves.

Other than that, for those who missed episodes, or would like to hear the show again all I can say is that the show may be re-run in years to come, or like the two previous CBC SF series by Matt Watts, they may be released on CD. We’ll let you know when and where you can get Canadia: 2056.

Mark Time/Ogle Winners Announced!

June 21, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama 

SFFaudio News

Presented by

The American Society For Science Fiction Audio

The winners of the Mark Time/Ogle Awards have been officially announced! Boy it was difficult keeping my mouth shut for so long!

Mark Time Awards / Ogle Awards
Winners – 2007
Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Audio Production

Mark Time Award

Through the Turnstiles
Produced by Sam A. Mowry
Written by Carole Dane
Willamette Radio Workshop


Canadia: 2056
Produced by Joe Mahoney
Written by Matt Watts
CBC Radio A & E

Tears of the Tin God
Produced by Richard Sellers
Story by T. Ray Gordon

Ogle Award

God of the Razor
Produced by Scott Hickey
Story by Joe R. Lansdale
The Grist Mill
Dandelion Wine
Produced by Jerry Robbins, & Mark Vander Berg
Script by Ray Bradbury
The Colonial Radio Theatre On the Air


Produced by Sam A. Mowry
Written by Craig Kenworthy
Willamette Radio Workshop

In Science Fiction Audio

* Norman Corwin
* Ray Bradbury

A Gold and a Silver Mark Time Award, and a Gold and a Silver Ogle Award, will be awarded at CONvergence,, July 6-7-8 of 2007.

Update: "Voice Over" by Norman Spinrad begining production

June 20, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama 

SFFaudio Update

Norman Spinrad's Voice OverBroken Sea Audio ProductionsLess than a week after we posted the story about the unproduced Norman Spinrad, audio drama that was written for Omni magazine, we have an update! It seems that the Mark Kalita and the good folks at Broken Sea Audio Productions have gotten the go-ahead from Spinrad!


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